People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


No. 38

September 20, 2009



AIDWA Launches Countdown Calendar

Sudha Sundararaman


ON September 11, 2009, the All India Democratic Women�s association (AIDWA) launched a countdown calendar about on 33 per cent reservation for women. This was done as a protest against the UPA�s refusal to honour the commitment it made to the people on this important issue. The president of our country had assured the country on June 4, 2009 that steps would be taken towards passage of the concerned bill within 100 days, and September 12, 2009 marked that important day. But no necessary steps have been initiated by the UPA government as yet. How revealing and unfortunate it is that the readiness to increase the representation of women to 50 per cent at the panchayat level is not matched by an equal urgency about increasing the women�s participation at the topmost decision making levels. The report of the standing committee constituted by the parliament, headed by Congress MP Shri Natchiappan, has not even been processed by the current government, betraying its lack of will. It is more surprising that the ruling dispensation has failed to accomplish this step even when it has the requisite numbers in parliament

It was to condemn this inaction that at Delhi, in the pouring rain, AIDWA activists raised slogans and cheered when senior AIDWA leader Pramila Pandhe unveiled the countdown calendar. AIDWA general secretary Sudha Sundararaman spoke on the occasion, urging for further mass demonstrations and struggles. Ashalata (all-India assistant secretary) presided over the event.  JMS Delhi state secretary Sehba Farooqi highlighted the issue. 

The calendar will keep a count of each passing day of this 100 day announcement opposite to the entrance to the parliament, on Talkatora Road, so that our elected representatives can be reminded of their commitment to the women of the country on a daily basis.

On the day, AIDWA units all over the country organised actions in protest against the UPA government�s inaction to fulfil its own promise on the issue.

Further, on September 12, from every state AIDWA units sent 100th day telegrams to the president, demanding immediate fulfilment of the promise. AIDWA delegations met the state governors, and submitted their memoranda. Rallies, dharnas, special meetings and conventions were held in many places on this issue. A joint delegation of representatives from nine organisations of women --- the AIDWA, AIDMAM, AIWC, CWDS, GOS, JWP, NFIW, MWF, and YWCA --- was to meet the president on September 15 to hand over the memorandum. The organisations have decided to intensify the agitation in the coming days, till the pledge made by the UPA to legislate for women�s representation in parliament and state assemblies is redeemed.